Maintaining the ability to keep your balance is very important for the elderly. Having a good sense of balance can help reduce the risk of falling, which can reduce the possibility of serious injury. Routinely performing balance exercises can help your aging loved one improve coordination, stability, and posture, while also building up core strength. Home care assistance providers can help your senior follow through on their plan.
Improvements in all of these areas can give your loved one the confidence she needs to continue to be independent and enjoy the things in life that make her happy, as well as continue to do the tasks that help her feel confident.
While your loved one should consult with her physician before beginning any exercise program, if she’s been given the green light, listed below are some great balance exercises she can try at home or at a gym. Having someone such as her home care assistance provider there to provide support and guidance will help ensure she is doing each exercise safely. Her home care assistance provider could also bring her to a local senior center to do the exercises there if she doesn’t have a good place in the home to perform them.
Balance exercises for your loved one:
Simple foot raises
Placing her hands on her hips, have your loved one slowly raise one foot and stay standing on the other foot for 30 seconds.
Starting with both heels against a wall, this exercise will improve balance and strengthen the legs. Your loved one should take her first foot and put its heel next to the toes of the foot against the wall. Then move that back foot in front of the other, making its heel touch the toes. Continue walking across the room (or about 20-25 steps), using the arms for balance.
No worries, your loved one doesn’t need to scale between two buildings. Simply find a straight line on the floor or place a strip of tape on the floor. If your loved one is at a community gym, any of the lines on the floor will work. Then she can pretend she’s on a tightrope and work on walking by only stepping on the line. It’s a simple exercise, but it improves posture, balance, and core strength. To add a little extra “workout,” have your loved one pause each time she takes a step with one foot in the air and maintain that balance for 2-3 seconds.
Gentle leg kicks
While standing on one leg, have your loved one lift the other leg and gently kick it forward, then bring the foot back to the body, trying this for about 30 seconds per leg. If she gets wobbly, it’s okay to put her swinging foot back down and start again when she’s ready. Small kicks are fine at first but work toward larger kicks that extend the leg a bit more.
For any of these exercises, have a steady object or her home care assistance provider nearby that she can grab onto if she begins to feel unsteady. And always wear supportive non-slip shoes.